Lecture Video and Recap: Christina Dunbar-Hester on 'Hacking Diversity? Collectivity, Critique and Care in Open Technology Communities'

Sept. 25, 2022
Digital globe

Christina Dunbar-Hester, Professor of Communication, University of Southern California

Lecture Video

Lecture Recap

Colloquium held September 23, 2022.

In recent years, conflicts over values and practices have emerged in hacking and free/libre and open source (FLOSS) communities, centering around diversity and inclusion. This talk featured ethnographic research on feminist hacking and "diversity" efforts in mainstream hacking and FLOSS. It explores how participants work through thorny issues of inclusion in their practices with code, hardware and one another. It illustrates how there is more at stake in "hacking diversity" than a politics of representation can capture and argues that how diversity advocates bound their interventions matters for hacking communities, for "tech" more broadly and for critical analysis of technology-oriented cultures.

About Christina Dunbar-Hester



Christina Dunbar-Hester conducts interpretive research into the politics of technology. She is the author of two award-winning ethnographies of activism in technical communities: Hacking Diversity: The Politics of Inclusion in Open Technology Cultures (Princeton University Press, 2020); and Low Power to the People: Pirates, Protest, and Politics in FM Radio Activism (MIT Press, 2014).  

Dunbar-Hester has most recently authored Oil Beach: How Toxic Infrastructure Threatens Life in the Ports of Los Angeles and Beyond, a study of multispecies life and death in the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, focusing on the entanglement of global shipping, wildlife conservation and petroleum infrastructure (University of Chicago Press, 2023). 

She is a faculty affiliate with the Center on Science, Technology and Public Life, which hosts the PhD certificate in Science and Technology Studies at USC as well as her research group on urban ecosystems with researchers across southern California.  

Dunbar-Hester holds a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Cornell University. Prior to joining USC, she taught in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University, where she was also affiliated faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Institute for Advanced Study, Berggruen Institute, Andrew J. Mellon Humanities Project, Virtual Knowledge Studio for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society.